Scammed on Marketplace by Seller - What Are My Options?

I recently bought a laptop on Marketplace. The seller was in a regional suburb, therefore they suggested they would ship it to me once the payment was received. I asked for a picture of their driving licence and was given, the name and picture matched the ones on the profile. The seller then gave me their phone number (payID), to which I sent the money (again the name on the account matched).

I sent the payment on Wednesday and the seller acknowledged that they received it on Thursday evening and said they would ship it asap. Later, in the evening they sent me a photo of the tracking number.

On Sunday, I noticed that the package was heading to another regional area in Victoria, away from where I live. So I contacted the seller and asked them to double-check the tracking ID. They said they would check with Auspost and get back to me. Later, they told me that it was possibly an issue with Auspost and they were having trouble contacting them due to it being the weekend and they will try again on Monday or Tuesday.

Today morning (Monday) I noticed that I was blocked from sending messages to them. Now, I noticed that the whole Facebook messenger thread is gone.

I have: their phone number, the image of their driving license, a screenshot of the full conversation. I'm with CBA and I already emailed their scam team with this information. What other steps can I take to recover my money?

  1. Called CBA. They charge a $50 recovery fee regardless of the outcome. Also, they can only recover the money if the other party agrees, which doesn't make much sense if the other party is a scammer. They recommended that I file a complaint with the police.

  2. Messaged the seller (SMS) saying that I tried to contact them FB, but since I've been blocked I reached them here. Told that I have a screenshot of the full conversation and I'll go to the police if I don't get my money back.
    Seller denied blocking me on FB. So I sent a screenshot of the last message which shows a yellow exclamation mark with "Message could not be sent, tap for details".
    The seller sent me a screenshot of their chat with a new message for test purposes. The new message has a single tick that is not coloured, and I never received this one.
    I double-checked to see if I have accidentally blocked the seller, which was not the case.

  3. Seller sends money to my PayID

  4. Auspost tracking shows that the item has been delivered to a post office box 272km away from me.

The seller was apologetic. Now I honestly don't know if this was a scam or a series of unfortunate events. Hopefully, the money will clear soon. Don't know what's in the parcel at the post office that's 272kms away. No idea where the Macbook is, if there ever was one.

Thank you for your valuable suggestions!

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  • +16 votes

    Contact the police.

  • +1 vote

    How much was the laptop and made/model?

  • payID

    You're not going be able to do anything. The police don't care about civil matters (best they'll do is give you an event number if you need it for your insurance, otherwise just refer you to ACORN). You're unlikely to get anything back from the bank - if you're really lucky they might give you the money out of their own pockets but most likely they'll ask the recipient politely for the money back and they'll decline.

    You will have to either suck it up and take it as an expensive lesson about using an online payment method with zero recourse for buyers or think up some kind of vigilante justice.

    • this , but kinda sh*tty that the way the processes are - its actually made it so easy to scam/defraud folks and the scum actually have free reign here (AU) no wonder its so rampant. fyi - waiting in que at CBA branch overheard 2 cases of disputes from carsales (deposit) fraud..ffs

    • +1 vote

      The police don't care about civil matters

      They do about criminal matters though…

      • Of which this isn't

        Unless you know something we don't

      • The police really don't even care about criminal matters of this value in my experience.

        I had my car broken into and laptop stolen once while parked on a busy street. The shop I was parked in front of had CCTV camera which would have caught the crime, police told me they didn't have time to and I could approach the store myself to ask for the footage.

        Eventually the laptop turned up about 6 months later at a pawn shop, police called me to say that they had located it (based on matching serial numbers), and I could go to the shop and buy it back if I wanted it, or take it up as a civil matter with the pawn shop.

        It was a rental car, and company laptop, so none of this cost me anything other than minor inconvenience, but I was shocked at the lack of interest from the police.

        • +8 votes

          police really don't even care about criminal matters

          They should… It's their job..

          They're happy to fine you a few hundred $$$ for not wearing a mask whilst walking your dog, but not following up on thieving and scams…

          • @jv: That’s democracy for ya.

            At least they contacted him about the laptops where abouts. So much for reviving stolen goods.

            • @T1OOO: If it was a personal laptop I would have been fuming, but since it was a company laptop I found the whole situation quite amusing.
              The best part was when the detective said he had spoken to the person who sold the laptop to the pawn shop and he was certain that the seller was not the original thief.

  • +12 votes

    Only CASH!

  • I have: their phone number, the image of their driving license, a screenshot of the full conversation. I'm with CBA and I already emailed their scam team with this information. What other steps can I take to recover my money?

    1) (Unwise, but more fun). Get some boys together and go for a road trip down to the address on their driving license. They might pay you back after some persuasion. (Obviously this is a joke).

    2) (Wise option). Send them a formal letter of demand. If no dice, then file in a small claims court (or VCAT equivalent in your state) and serve them the papers. Given you have all the evidence, this is an open and shut case. I'm willing to bet that the moment he's served those papers, he's going to refund you and look for an easier target to scam.

  • I don't understand the scam part where they send a fake parcel. I mean they could've simply said they sent it and then proceeded to block messages.

    • Yes, I find it unusual too. They could have just stopped communicating once the money hit their account.

    • I believe he sold it twice

      • No thinking about it, it's more likely the ID theft type.

        Stolen ID leading to being able to open fake bank accounts etc and then listing fake items to funnel cash their way.

        Still doesn't explain why they'd need to send out a fake registered post, but I suppose it would be to wait for the cash to clear from the fake bank account.

        • probably just used another tracking number they skimmed from somewhere else - like an envelope/box/label still on the shelf at the local post office with the sticker on it about to be bought or they have some access to some others going out for other reasons. Or they just sent someone a random letter with a tracking number to say they did

    • It is to throw off a charge of obtaining property by deception - they tell the police that that they sent the package by producing the record of the postage and claim that it was lost.

      • This is basically it. - They are trying to convert a crime into a civil dispute over lost mail.

    • Maybe they sent to another one of their friends until the funds are cleared. Once done they do the scam again on another client

  • These guys probably have a nice little kit where they have a photoshopped licence - they probably take in a bunch of people at once then vanish. $700 is probably below the police care factor - even though they have probably done a heap of people worth thousands.

    The name is very likely a real name - but could be a stolen/borrowed bank account. Facebook account is dime a dozen.

    You should report to Facebook but unlikely they will do anything that benefits you

    • Yeah I was going to say probably a stolen or photoshopped ID but the bank account name matches. That's a bit harder to have a fake name or stolen identity. My money is on the name being the actual person and they only thought of stealing the money later into the transaction, maybe they sold it to someone else as well and got money from both of them. Maybe the second person used PayPal so easier to scam OP than the other person.

    • Could easy ask someone else on marketplace for a copy of their license as a pretend buyer for whatever they are selling… then send onto that image to the OP!

  • +19 votes

    I had a similar experience recently. My local police weren't interested and used the old line " it's a civil case" . I then contacted the local police where the scammer lived and the police were very interested, he must have been on their radar. I got most of my money back after the local police chatted to him.

  • I asked for a picture of their driving licence

    Unless you matched the licence to their actual face, you can't be sure that it belongs to them.

  • The police wont be bothered. Send bikies.

  • Maybe not all is lost.
    AusPost route mail through various distribution centres and so the scan info you see could still be correct. Further, sometimes an item will be sent through the incorrect distribution centre.
    You could have called AusPost yourself on Monday to see what further info they can give you (their internal tracking has more info than what shows on the public system)

    • ^ This! You seem to have jumped to conclusions so quickly. There's still a chance that they may have actually held up their end of the deal and blocked you because you annoyed the crap out of them by calling/messaging all the time! LOL

      • -1 vote

        yeah. who knows? op doesnt even know if he/she got scammed yet but frames the title as so. perhaps the readers are being scammed.

        au post does whatever the hell it likes

  • I had an item make it to my local distribution centre, 20 minutes away from me and then next thing, it took a 5 day trip to Melbourne and back..

  • When you submit a claim with the bank, they'll ask for a police report number and then try to retrieve the funds by contacting the other party's bank. They'll notify you that there will be a recovery fee (I believe it was $25) regardless whether they retrieve it or not and will take months. How do I know? I was scammed myself through marketplace and did not end up getting my money back with all the evidence I had of the seller. I also tried contacting internally (work with the bank) to see if they could expedite the case but they cant do anything. Good lucky if you get your money back but I gave up hope with the bank I work for.

  • It recently happened to me. Eveything looked legit, had receipts in the same name, ID checked out. Police looked into it & its likely chinese organised crime who use other peoples information to set up fake bank accounts. Kiss your money goodbye

  • Buying ANYTHING off stalkerbook, your playing with fire. Shonky deals on stalkerbook is as common as seagulls shitting on the beach.

    Pay on Pickup the only way to fly
    Cash rules.

    • Pay on Pickup the only way to fly
      Cash rules.

      Right up until they physically rob you of your cash. Meeting strangers with a known large amount of cash on you isn't necessarily the wisest way to avoid being scammed.

  • Later, in the evening they sent me a photo of the tracking number.

    What other steps can I take to recover my money?

    Until the tracking number is delivered, its 50/50 if its a scam.

    Just because the tracking isn't heading directly to you, doesn't mean its not coming to you! Mail/parcels have to move through the system. The driver doesn't just drive direct from the senders location to you.

    As for the seller blocking you, maybe it is a scam or maybe they just didn't want to deal with you anymore.

  • Do keep us posted, OP. Hopefully it will work out.

  • WAIT for the package to be delivered (wherever it may be) before you jump into conclusions.

  • Police only care if you beat your attacker. Then they will charge you.

    Otherwise you're on your own.

    • True.
      1. A guy tried to buy my Xbox with a fake cheque, and when I told police he was due to pick up the Xbox the next day along with his phone number, car rego and they took no action. I met the next day to refuse his cheque in person.
      2. My identity was stolen and a loan taken out to be picked up from a bank. I gave them the details and nothing happened even though they knew the information to pick up the suspect at the bank.

      • The only functioning enforcement method that the police have is fines. You can fine a deadbeat scumbag for a hundred years and still never see a cent. Fines only work on the productive tax cattle - they have more to lose by not paying.

    • My employer had security footage of a night time security guard taking a credit card from my desk drawer and i had the evidence of spending on multiple purchases. There was only 1 guard on duty in my office but because the video didn't clearly show his face the cops wouldn't do anything. However I heard because it was a private security company they sacked the guy.

  • I recently bought a laptop on Marketplace. The seller was in a regional suburb, therefore they suggested they would ship it to me once the payment was received.


  • Make sure you are looking in the right place in messenger for the messages. There is an inbox called marketplace that has all the conversations. It’s not a direct message with the person. It can be difficult to find once an item is sold.
    It sounds like the seller has refunded you, hopefully that is the case. It is possible that auspost have stuffed up.

  • wHY dO pEoPlE ONlY aCcePT CasH FROm mArKEtPLace aNd gUMtReE

  • Bit strange the seller refund you before he can retrieve the package from AusPost, unless he knows for sure he messed up with the delivery address.

    Wish you luck to get your refund, $700 is not too small but not too much, still, with those undue stress to deal with.

  • I love how everyone in this situation asks "what are my options" like somehow they will have a unique option available for them

    since op spent so much time on the presentation of his problem, it will cast suspicion on him rolling up to the police station in a wheelchair and helmet and say "heyyyyyy sumtum took ma MOOOOOONEYYYYYYYY i haaav license and sweeeeeenshoooooooootttttttttttt"

  • My experience with being blocked on FB messenger never had the bubble saying 'this message can't be delivered', but rather I was prevented from making the message in the first place. It said something along the lines of 'you can't message this person right now'.

    I've had messages that can't be delivered, be delivered later, as though it was a problem with FB servers rather than being blocked.

    This may be different with sending messages over marketplace.

  • It's amazing that even with all the ozbargain forum posts over cash only sales people still do this…

  • It would be funny if the seller was legit and he ended losing a laptop and money then posts on ozb he was scammed..

  • if it does show up in a while please send the seller back the money

  • Would be sad if the seller is now sans laptop and money

    Auspost tracking stuffs up a lot. It could just be in transit and scanned incorrectly


    nah. sent a parcel to nsw. tracking said delivered in qld. but still went to the right location.

  • Why don't people ever learn? CASH ONLY for gumtree and marketplace (see that other thread), just forget about shipping unless it's ebay.

    It's seriously unbelievable at this point…

    • They get greedy. See a item they want for a good price, they ignore the facts and cross their fingers.

    • +2 votes

      really? made a few purchases off gumtree using bank transfer. went all good. its worth checking out the seller first.

      • Depends how much you're willing to lose I guess. Having said that, I've bought plenty of stuff on Gumtree using bank transfers and never had an issue.